Virtual wallets to drive e-commerce growth in region: report

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Virtual wallets are set to overtake credit cards as the most popular payment method for online transactions in the Asia-Pacific, taking 51 percent of the market by 2021, global payments firm Worldpay says in a report.

On the other hand, credit card payments in the region are forecast to fall to 10 percent of the e-commerce market, from 30 percent at present, the report said.

“The e-commerce market in the Asia-Pacific is the largest in the world and one of the fastest growing,” the report said. “Consumer appetite for online and mobile shopping continues to see extreme progress in the coming year and beyond.”

The rapid growth of virtual wallets will help fuel the mobile commerce market in the region, which is projected to rise at an average of 12 percent annually and be worth US$2.1 trillion by 2021, it said.

In Hong Kong, e-wallets are catching up with credit cards, and will make up about 28 percent of the city’s online payments market by 2021, Worldpay said.

But while Hong Kong is a leading digital economy, e-commerce has yet to take off in the city due to lingering concerns about counterfeit goods, the report said.

Nonetheless, mobile commerce is expected to overtake desktop e-commerce shopping by 2021, reaching US$13 billion in turnover, it said.

In Mainland China, consumers are driving the healthy growth for alternative online payment methods.

E-commerce in the country will continue to soar, reaching US$1.56 trillion by 2021, Worldpay said.

In fact, China is poised to be at the forefront of new payment innovations, with 93 percent of consumers saying they want the opportunity to make purchases in a virtual reality environment, the report said.

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